A story by The Sun UK
has shown how a devoted couple married for 61 years died holding hands after hospital staff wheeled their beds together for a final goodbye in a heartbreaking echo of The Notebook.
Doris and Wilf Kelly, 84 and 83, had been on separate wards at Darlington Memorial Hospital battling different health problems.
But kind-hearted staff moved their beds together so the couple, who have seven children, 16 grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren, could be together in their final days.
Doris passed away in the early hours of September 1, while Wilf died just 24 hours later at his wife’s side.
Their family have now praised the hospital for the “amazing” decision to put the couple, who celebrated their 61st wedding anniversary together on August 25, on the same ward.
One of their seven children, Bernadette Moscrop, said: “The staff on the ward noticed the family were visiting and moving from one room to the other to see mum and dad.
“I thought it was absolutely amazing when the nurses put them into a shared room and then, at the end they put their beds together in one room and my mum passed away holding my dad’s hand.”
She added: “The empathy shown by the nursing staff really demonstrated the amazing support, care, information and patience that was provided to the Kelly family during such a heart-breaking time.
“For this the family will always be grateful.”
Wilf had spent three weeks in a temporary care home over the summer but briefly returned home to his wife.
But he was admitted to hospital in late August and after being told her husband was seriously ill, Doris was also taken to hospital with her own health problems.
Sister Natalie Walker, manager of ward 41, said: “We hoped that nursing Mr and Mrs Kelly side by side would be comforting for them and it was touching to see them holding hands, despite both being frail.
“Being kind and thoughtful is an essential part of caring for patients and their loved ones.
“This must be a very difficult time indeed for Mr and Mrs Kelly’s family and our thoughts are with them.”